Blister’s a blast at Bicton

On a very cold Sunday morning the Bicton Blister was upon us, an 11 mile multi-terrain race, around the pebbled paths and heaths of Bicton leading up onto Woodbury Common.

The course for both races starts at Bicton College, before runners exit the rear of the site past Blackberry Farm along the road initially, which luckily was dry. The first crossroads takes a right turn towards the Crook Plantation, where the course starts the majority of its off-road section.

The course then ascends and turns left between Crook and Uphams Plantations. After crossing a couple of streams the ‘Full’ Blister takes a sharp left, where at this point the ‘Lite’ takes a sharp right and returns to Bicton College to the finishing line.

Zak Francis was the first ‘lighter’ runner through in 37mins, closely followed by John Perratt and Bill Valentine.

The Hemsworth’s were next, running together all the way round followed by Sarah Brown, who didn’t fancy anything with the word ‘blister’ in the title.

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Behind them were Debbie Bennett and Louise Brown, who both finished strong and under the hour.

The Blister route carries on through a water hollow, again luckily the hollow was dry, but the course was very icy and, in some places, hazardous so you could see that some people were just pleased to be upright!

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Amazingly, Becky Robson’s leggings managed to stay upright as she had somehow managed to lose the cord and she had to make sure the flasher of Woodbury Common was kept under wraps.

The route is undulating as runners pass along the bridleways of the common, with magnificent views of the Jurassic coastline. Once you’ve convinced yourself you’re going to make it back in one piece, the route takes a steep descent before quickly rising to another pebbled incline on the top of the common.

Re-tracing your steps, you join the initial track, of the Crook Plantation, then it's back to the road, at last, and, if you have any energy left, you can stride it out to the finish line on a flat last section of this race.

At this stage I saw fellow runner Iain Burns who had kindly turned up to take photos of us all, thanks Iain. I am just glad I booked my ‘chemical peel’ after seeing the one of me!

First Sidmouth Runner back was Justin Ashby, and second was Guy Bennett who had kept Justin in his sights all the way round but was pipped to the finish by two minutes. Sidmouth’s first lady back was Naomi Garrick beating last year’s run time by two minutes, well done!

Brothers Mark and John Keast, with Phil Welsford and George Chalstrey, all ran strongly and all under one and a half hours. Colin Flood, next home, was very pleased with his time and had plenty of cheers as he came through the line.

Then came the girls, Virginia Bell, followed by Lesley Roberts. Brian Gosling with his wife cheering on the finish line, always has a great run, as did Cathy Keast, Deb Marriot and Don Cawthera.

Sarah Watkins overtook Becky ‘with leggings aloft’ Robson and John Podmore with the end in sight.

And a very well done to Terry Bewes, his first experience of the Blister. A T-shirt awaits every finisher and this is where you are glad you packed a flask as a hot drink is definitely needed.

Now we are all looking forward to tomorrow’s (Dec 4) Reindeer Run at Otterton!

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